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RAF HOLMPTON

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  RAF PATRINGTON, GCI (E) ROTOR STATION 'VQJ'
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The site of Royal Air Force Holmpton or Patrington Ground Controlled Interception radar station. Constructed between 1951 and 1954 it was part of the Rotor programme to modernise the United Kingdom's radar defences. It was a replacement for the Second World War GCI station at Patrington (see HOB UID 915111). In 1989 it became an underground bunker housing the National Wartime Command Centre for RAF Support Command.

The station was fitted with two Type 13 Mark 6 and one Type 13 Mark 7 height finder radar heads, three Type 14 Mark 8 and one Type 14 Mark 9 plan positioning radar heads, all mounted on plinths and 25 feet gantries, and Type 54 radar on a 200 feet tower. The site was equipped with a guardhouse designed to resemble a bungalow, which gave access to a two-storey, underground R3 operations bunker. Type 7 radar with an underground equipment well was built at a remote site, along with a Type 79 IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) and a substation. Type 80 radar was installed at the site by 1958. This replaced the remote Type 7 radar, although it was initially retained as back up.

The station was upgraded in 1961 and incorporated the functions of a centimetric early warning station. It briefly operated as a Master Radar Station and continued to operate as a radar station until 1974. It was then used as a training facility for radar engineers. The site was refitted and reopened in 1989, becoming a National Wartime Command Centre for RAF Support Command. This saw the removal of the old radar buildings and a refurbishment of the underground facility. This closed in 1992. From 1991 until 1995 it was in use as training centre for the RAF Police & RAF Regiment, after which it became an experimental Operations Centre for the new UK AIR Command & Control System.

The site underwent maintenance in 2001, and in 2003 it reopened as the Defence Archive Unit, which includes a public exhibition.

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